OXYTOCIN AND FATHERING

Dr Eyal Abraham, Professor Ruth Feldman, ‘OXYTOCIN AND
FATHERING’, https://fatherhood.global/oxytocin-fathering/, Fatherhood.Global, the Jacobs Foundation (January 4, 2017)

Surprising findings

Over the last two decades, human oxytocin research has shown this hormone’s involvement in all aspects of human sociality, including empathy, social collaboration, theory-of-mind, and romantic love. Oxytocin’s involvement in fatherhood, however, has remained less understood than its role in motherhood. (…) Mothers’ oxytocin was linked to maternal affectionate touch, talking in “motherese” and mutual gazing, while fathers’ oxytocin correlated with a “paternal” way of interaction – highly arousing play, focus on joint exploration, and stimulatory touch. We further found that after 15 minutes of affectionate touch in mothers and stimulatory contact in fathers, both parent and infant’s oxytocin increased significantly, highlighting the role of parent-specific relational behavior and tactile contact in activating the production of oxytocin. (…) Surprising findings show how parent and child can influence each other’s oxytocin levels and the role of the hormone in developing the child’s social repertoire.



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